Skip to main content
×
Home

Evidence of an advantage in visuo-spatial memory for bilingual compared to monolingual speakers

  • LUCY KERRIGAN (a1), MICHAEL S. C. THOMAS (a2), PETER BRIGHT (a1) and ROBERTO FILIPPI (a3)
Abstract

Previous research has indicated that bilinguals outperform monolinguals in cognitive tasks involving spatial working memory. The present study examines evidence for this claim using a different and arguably more ecologically valid method (the change blindness task). Bilingual and monolingual participants were presented with two versions of the same scenes and required to press a key as soon as they identified the alteration. They also completed the word and alpha span tasks, and the Corsi blocks task. The results in the change blindness task, controlled for group differences in non-verbal reasoning, indicated that bilinguals were faster and more accurate than monolinguals at detecting visual changes. Similar group differences were found on the Corsi block task. Unlike previous findings, no group differences were found on the verbal memory tasks. The results are discussed with reference to mechanisms of cognitive control as a locus of transfer between bilingualism and spatial working memory tasks.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Dr. Roberto Filippi, Anglia Ruskin University, Faculty of Science & Technology, East Road, Cambridge CB1 1PT roberto.filippi@anglia.ac.uk
Footnotes
Hide All
This study was funded by the Leverhulme Trust, grant RPG-2015-024 and UK ESRC grant RES-062-23-2721. Our thanks to Prof. Fergus Craik for his valuable input. Bright and Filippi contributed equally to this work.
Footnotes
References
Hide All
Bacon A. M., Parmentier F. B., & Barr P. (2013). Visuospatial memory in dyslexia: Evidence for strategic deficits. Memory, 21 (2), 189209.
Baddeley A. D. (1986). Working memory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Baddeley A. (1992). Working memory. Science, 255 (5044), 556559.
Bialystok E. (2001). Bilingualism in development: Language, literacy, and cognition. Cambridge University Press.
Bialystok E. (2009). Bilingualism: The good, the bad, and the indifferent. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 12 (01), 311.
Bialystok E., & Feng X. (2011). Language proficiency and its implications for monolingual and bilingual children. Language and literacy development in bilingual settings, 121–138.
Bialystok E., & Martin M. M. (2004). Attention and inhibition in bilingual children: Evidence from the dimensional change card sort task. Developmental science, 7 (3), 325339.
Bialystok E., Craik F., & Luk G. (2008). Cognitive control and lexical access in younger and older bilinguals. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 34 (4), 859.
Bialystok E., Craik F. I., Green D. W., & Gollan T. H. (2009). Bilingual minds. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 10 (3), 89129.
Bialystok E., Craik F. I., Klein R., & Viswanathan M. (2004). Bilingualism, aging, and cognitive control: evidence from the Simon task. Psychology and aging, 19 (2), 290.
Carlson S. M., & Meltzoff A. N. (2008). Bilingual experience and executive functioning in young children. Developmental science, 11 (2), 282298.
Craik F. I. (1986). A functional account of age differences in memory. Human memory and cognitive capabilities: Mechanisms and performances, 409–422.
Craik F. I., Bialystok E., & Freedman M. (2010). Delaying the onset of Alzheimer disease Bilingualism as a form of cognitive reserve. Neurology, 75 (19), 17261729.
Crystal D. (1997). Language: Medium, barrier, or Trojan horse. In Conference on cultural diplomacy at the crossroads: Cultural relations in Europe and the wider world. Wilton House (Vol. 26).
de Bruin A., Treccani B., & Della Sala S. (2015). Cognitive Advantage in Bilingualism An Example of Publication Bias? Psychological science, 26 (1), 99107.
Duñabeitia J. A., Hernández J. A., Antón E., Macizo P., Estévez A., Fuentes L. J., & Carreiras M. (2015). The inhibitory advantage in bilingual children revisited: myth or reality? Experimental psychology, 61 (3), 234.
Filippi R., Karaminis T., & Thomas M. S. (2014). Language switching in bilingual production: Empirical data and computational modelling. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 17 (02), 294315.
Filippi R., Richardson F. M., Dick F., Leech R., Green D. W., Thomas M. S., & Price C. J. (2011). The right posterior paravermis and the control of language interference. The Journal of Neuroscience, 31 (29), 1073210740.
Filippi R., Leech R., Thomas M. S., Green D. W., & Dick F. (2012). A bilingual advantage in controlling language interference during sentence comprehension. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 15 (04), 858872.
Filippi R., Morris J., Richardson F. M., Bright P., Thomas M. S., Karmiloff-Smith A., & Marian V. (2015). Bilingual children show an advantage in controlling verbal interference during spoken language comprehension. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 18 (03), 490501.
Gollan T. H., Montoya R. I., Fennema-Notestine C., & Morris S. K. (2005). Bilingualism affects picture naming but not picture classification. Memory & Cognition, 33 (7), 12201234.
Green D. W. (1986). Control, activation, and resource: A framework and a model for the control of speech in bilinguals. Brain and language, 27 (2), 210223.
Green D. W. (1998). Mental control of the bilingual lexico-semantic system. Bilingualism: Language and cognition, 1 (02), 6781.
Grimes J. (1996). On the failure to detect changes in scenes across saccades.
Grosjean F. (2010) Bilingual: Life and Reality, Harvard University Press.
Hakuta K., & Diaz R. M. (1985). The relationship between degree of bilingualism and cognitive ability: A critical discussion and some new longitudinal data. Children's language, 5, 319344.
Hilchey M. D., & Klein R. M. (2011). Are there bilingual advantages on nonlinguistic interference tasks? Implications for the plasticity of executive control processes. Psychonomic bulletin & review, 18 (4), 625658.
Institute for Personality and Ability Testing. (1973). Measuring intelligence with the Culture Fair tests. Champaign, Illinois: Institute for Personality and Ability Testing.
Hollingworth A., & Henderson J. M. (2002). Accurate visual memory for previously attended objects in natural scenes. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 28 (1), 113.
Levin D. T., & Simons D. J. (1997). Failure to detect changes to attended objects in motion pictures. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 4 (4), 501506.
Luo L., Craik F. I., Moreno S., & Bialystok E. (2013). Bilingualism interacts with domain in a working memory task: Evidence from aging. Psychology and aging, 28 (1), 28.
Ma L. Q., Xu K., Wong T. T., Jiang B. Y., & Hu S. M. (2013). Change blindness images. Visualization and Computer Graphics, IEEE Transactions on, 19 (11), 18081819.
Morton J. B., & Harper S. N. (2007). What did Simon say? Revisiting the bilingual advantage. Developmental Science, 10 (6), 719726.
Milner B. (1971). Interhemispheric differences in the localization of psychological processes in man. British Medical Bulletin.
Mitroff S. R., Simons D. J., & Levin D. T. (2004). Nothing compares 2 views: Change blindness can occur despite preserved access to the changed information. Perception & Psychophysics, 66 (8), 12681281.
Miyake A., Friedman N. P., Emerson M. J., Witzki A. H., Howerter A., & Wager T. D. (2000). The unity and diversity of executive functions and their contributions to complex “frontal lobe” tasks: A latent variable analysis. Cognitive psychology, 41 (1), 49100.
Norman D., & Shallice T. (1980). Attention to Action: Willed and Automatic Control of Behaviour, CHIP Report 99. San Diego: University of California.
Norman D. A., & Shallice T. (1986). Attention to action (pp. 118). Springer US.
Paap K. R., & Greenberg Z. I. (2013). There is no coherent evidence for a bilingual advantage in executive processing. Cognitive Psychology, 66 (2), 232258.
Paap K. R., Johnson H. A., & Sawi O. (2014). Are bilingual advantages dependent upon specific tasks or specific bilingual experiences?. Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 26 (6), 615639.
Pessoa L., & Ungerleider L. G. (2004). Neural correlates of change detection and change blindness in a working memory task. Cerebral Cortex, 14 (5), 511520.
Rensink R. A. (2002). Change detection. Annual review of psychology, 53 (1), 245277.
Rensink R. A., O'Regan J. K., & Clark J. J. (1997). To see or not to see: The need for attention to perceive changes in scenes. Psychological science, 8 (5), 368373.
Saer D. J. (1923). The effect of bilingualism on intelligence. British Journal of Psychology. General Section, 14 (1), 2538.
Schneider W., Eschman A., & Zuccolotto A. (2002) E-Prime User's Guide. Pittsburgh: Psychology Software Tools Inc.
Simons D. J., & Levin D. T. (2003). What makes change blindness interesting?. Psychology of Learning and Motivation, 42, 295322.
Simons D. J., & Rensink R. A. (2005). Change blindness: Past, present, and future. Trends in cognitive sciences, 9 (1), 1620.
Toepper M., Gebhardt H., Beblo T., Thomas C., Driessen M., Bischoff M., Blecker C. R., Vaitl D., & Sammer G. (2010). Functional correlates of distractor suppression during spatial working memory encoding. Neuroscience, 165 (4), 12441253.
Vandierendonck A., Kemps E., Fastame M. C., & Szmalec A. (2004). Working memory components of the Corsi blocks task. British Journal of Psychology, 95 (1), 5779.
Vega-Mendoza M., West H., Sorace A., & Bak T. H. (2015). The impact of late, non-balanced bilingualism on cognitive performance. Cognition, 137, 4046.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Bilingualism: Language and Cognition
  • ISSN: 1366-7289
  • EISSN: 1469-1841
  • URL: /core/journals/bilingualism-language-and-cognition
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 15
Total number of PDF views: 248 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 752 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 23rd November 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.